Queen Tara Nic Nessa (pronounced ‘terra nick ness-a’) is the new member of Aether’s royal family, having won King Alaric’s heart in a contest for his love. Originally hailing from the land of Ulster in northern Aether, Tara came to Alaric’s castle, not truly expecting to fall in love with the erstwhile king… but ultimately glad she did. Now she strives to protect her new home during these troubling times, happy to play her part in Aether’s destiny.
Cunning, shrewd, and tough as nails, Tara doesn’t give up easily. She fully believes she knows what’s best for her people and expects all to follow her lead or else face the consequences, quick to speak her mind. Being a Shiny ‘mon doesn’t help her humility either, giving her more than ample reason to be vain about her appearance. Last thing you want to do is talk down to her; she will quickly remind you however powerful she is in that sharp, slippery lisp of hers. That being said, such stubbornness leads to true loyalty: you couldn’t find a more trustworthy serpent to have fight at your side.
She also has a “fun side,” as she loves to chat amongst friends and be merry (especially if it involves heavily spiced foods and fruity wines). Her daily hobbies including equestrianism and gardening, and when she’s not dancing at parties or visiting the townspeople, she’s conducting diplomatic meetings and keeping the castle running ship-shape. Tara tends to intimidate ‘mons at first glance - those markings on her hood, often hidden behind a green-and-gold-trimmed scarf, are both vibrantly beautiful and hauntingly terrifying - but she truly wishes to help everyone in need, and she will do whatever it takes to keep her people happy and safe.
Growing Up in Ulster
In northeast Aether, close to the borders of Veethfölnir and Nizhoni, there stands the lands of Ulster, a generously green sub-kingdom of rolling hills, marshy valleys, and bountiful harvests. This is where Tara grew up, from a spunky little Ekans to a sharp-tongued Arbok, completely at home in her lush surroundings. As a member of the royal court, she was expected to attend any and all gatherings that her father, Ard Rí Ness Mac Conchobar, commanded her to; when she was young, she went willingly and, in fact, eagerly, but when she was older… well, it became boring.
And how could it not? Ulster was - and still is - ruled by a Shiny Seviper who had been Ard Rí for many years. He’d quelled many an invasion, defended hundreds of borders… and now Ness is old. Age in Ulster, however, does not mean respect; it means weakness, and Ness knew that his rule will be challenged by friend and foe alike. But this crafty serpent still had one ace up his metaphorical sleeve - his daughter and only heir, Tara Nic Nessa.
She was vivacious and headstrong, heaven help her, and frankly, Ness had been inches away from locking her up in some dismal tower when Gaius’ proclamation came to Ulster. The second he saw the contest, though, he knew he could use his daughter to procure a military ally for him to rely on (and marrying her off would only sweeten the deal). Tara soon learned of her father’s plans for her future; some part of her relished the experience, glad to get away from Ness’ ever-watching eye, but another part of her recoiled from the fact that she was being forced to ‘fall in love’ with a stranger. She was bold in her refusal - perhaps too bold as Ness slapped her hard across the face - and thus the Shiny Arbok went to Aether, only her handmaiden at her side.
Arrival in Aether
Traveling by horseback from Ulster to Aether takes approximately five hours - longer if you’re not in a hurry - and Tara and Maeve arrived in Aether almost eight hours after they left home. The weather was chilled when the women reached Aether… much like Tara’s attitude… and her opinion on the contest didn’t change when she met the king himself, their first impressions awkward and tense with discomfort. How could anyone fall in love under such strange conditions?
And yet… somehow, she did. It was Aether itself that first persuaded her to consider this place a new home. A melting pot of cultures and Pokémon, Tara began to see the beauty in the new kingdom, still so pure despite its harsh past. Perhaps there was hope, a chance for a better future, thanks to the courage and kindness of these ‘mons from everywhere under the sun. So, as she completed various tasks around the castle, all in an effort to stand out amongst the other ladies who’d come for Alaric’s hand, Tara actually found herself enjoying her time in Aether.
Eventually, though, her week at the kingdom came to an end, and at the farewell ball hosted in the castle, she let her feelings take the forefront. Tara could imagine herself staying in Aether forever - and truthfully, she had even started to imagine a life with Alaric, this handsome serpent who, without saying more than ten words to her, had woven into her heart! In the end, though, it would come down to his decision, and Tara steeled her heart for a polite rejection, fairly certain that others would beat her out…
Alaric chose his bride - and it was her! Tara could hardly believe it, having already packed her bags for the ride back to Ulster. Her father would be ecstatic…
“As am I,” she’d thought to herself in that moment, threading her tail tip in Alaric’s as he invited her to sit beside him on the throne of Aether. Her heart fluttered as the Shiny Serperior flashed her a bright grin, and she reflected it, joy blossoming throughout her entire being. “I will be a fair and honest queen, good to all of my people and ready to fight for our freedom. To be at Alaric’s side… I will not fail you, Aether, this I swear!”
Event 5: To Wed a King
Tara came to Aether to compete for King Alaric’s hand in marriage, along with many other women from across the land. During her one-week stay in the kingdom, she:
-Displayed her dress styles of choice to the king;
-Showed her fighting prowess in a spar with Gawain, Captain of the Guard;
-Met some of the townsfolk down by the marketplace;
-Spruced up the courtyard, using her Hidden Power to bring a garden back to life;
-Spent some time with Prince Nicholas and bonded over past experiences;
-Played a prank on Gaius (assisted by Yubel);
-Danced at the farewell ball with Alaric
She had done all that she could to show Alaric how she felt about him and his kingdom, and it paid off, giving her the chance to become his queen and rule Aether alongside him.